Bay Area Power Couples: La Ciccia's Massimiliano Conti & Lorella Degan
It's hard to start a business in the Bay Area. And even harder to make it successful. We're inspired by the couples who have done it together and have decided to highlight them every week in our new "Bay Area Power Couples" blog series. Check back on Fridays for Q&A's with the couples who run some of our favorite local businesses.
You know how they say none of the best Italian food can be found in North Beach? It's very true in the case of La Ciccia. A cozy outpost opened in 2006 on the fringes of Noe Valley, La Ciccia is a restaurant locals go for utterly fresh, authentic Sardinian cuisine and all-Italian wine list. Chef Massimiliano Conti and his wife Lorella Degan are known for their superstar seafood dishes and dedication to serving unfussy food with only organic ingredients that shine. People keep the 40-seat restaurant filled to the brim each night for a taste of the same love they have for eachother that they put into every one of their dishes.
What are the best and the worst parts of working together at La Ciccia?
The best part is we work the same hours! In the past we really never wanted to work together, then our 'little dream' (La Ciccia) come along and we knew that it could be a challenge. With a little compromise from both of us, we make it work!
How do you divide the duties at the restaurant?
Massimo is in the back of the house and I am in the front, but we both strongly believe that the success of any business is team work and it is really our motto! We work as a team and help each other from the time our day starts to the end.
What’s been your worst fight you’ve had over your business?
We never have big fights over our business. We sometimes argue over little things that we envision differently, mainly due to the amount of the stress that's implied in the restaurant business.
What do you each bring to the table?
We both bring passion for food, wine and hospitality!
Do you have any words of advice for couples that work together, or want to?
Advice? No, just follow your heart and most love what you do and have fun!
How do you escape the business? What other things do you like to do together?
We both love to play tennis, or take long rides along Highway 1, bring along some food and stop for a picnic in any of the beautiful beach that we have here in California, and then take a long walk. It is so relaxing!
Are there any special dinner dates you like to go on?
Monday is our day off (the restaurant is closed), so naturally it's our dinner date! We love to go out and try new places but we much enjoy staying home, cooking together and relaxing over a nice bottle of wine.